2021 GMC Yukon Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electric & airbag issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

When General Motors Corporation (GMC) launched its first Yukon in 1991, it was a two-door SUV available in two trims, the SL and SLE. The 2021 model is the first of the fifth-generation GMC Yukon, now available in four trim levels. These trims are the new AT4, the long-established Denali, the SLT, and the standard SL edition.

Heralded by GMC as the next-generation GMC Yukon, it clearly offers more than the fourth-generation SUVs. But complaints to the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have more than quadrupled since 2020, from 4 to 18.

A common issue for the vehicle is a engine lifter problem that can result in total engine failure of the SUV. Additionally, there have already been 9 recalls because of major problems with this model. But none relate to engine issues or engine failure.

Click on other model years to view more problems: 2020   2022   2023

Most Common Problems

Here we are looking at formal complaints made to NHTSA. There are many more complaints that owners simply don’t bother to put in writing to any official body. While there are only 3 engine-related NHTSA complaints, there are many less formal complaints on social media and on various Yukon forums.

The figures here only include formal written complaints to NHTSA complaints. In addition to the 3 engine-related complaints, there are 4 each that relate to airbags, the electrical system, and service brakes. However, all the electrical system complaints relate to brake system failure. All but 1 are included in both categories. So, in effect, there are 5 complaints about service brakes.

Other problem areas include the powertrain, steering, seats, suspension, tires, visibility/wiper, and unknown or other.

Just 1 complaint is listed as unknown or other.  This relates to water from the air-conditioning system not draining properly. It collects under the carpet on the driver’s side and develops potentially harmful mold and bacteria. The complainant says, “After researching various Internet forums, this seems to be a common issue in 2021 Yukon and Tahoes.”

2021 GMC Yukon Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Fuel/propulsion System
Electrical System
Air Bags
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Power Train
Service Brakes
Unknown Or Other

Airbag Problems

The airbags in the 2021 Yukon seem to be a big problem. In addition to driver complaints and a recall, there is an open NHTSA investigation into airbag malfunction. This was launched in April 2021 after numerous complaints to NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation. Some allege illumination of the airbag malfunction indicator. Others involve crash incidents that show significant frontal collision damage where driver frontal airbags failed to deploy.

The recall, which potentially affects 285,622 vehicles, is because the airbag malfunction indicator light may fail to warn drivers of airbag problems. This may increase the risk of injury.

One of the complaints, made in July 2021, is from a Yukon owner whose car had already been repaired under the recall. But the issue has subsequently recurred multiple times. So, in this case, the recall fix was useless.

Two of the complaints report accidents with injuries. In the first accident, the airbags failed to deploy when a car crashed into the Yukon, which was stationary. The driver was injured.

In the second accident, the side airbags deployed but not the others. Four people were injured and a police report was filed.

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Problems with the Electrical System & Brake

As mentioned above, a total of 5 complaints deal with brake-related issues. Three of these  are also listed as having electrical system problems. The problem seems to lie in the Brake Assist control system.

One of the complaints describes how, after the dealership downloaded a new software package from GMC to solve the problem, it recurred. Because they were unable to duplicate the problem, the car was returned to the owner without resolution.

Other complainants say they are now too nervous to drive their SUVs now.

Engine Problems

Two of the problems categorized as being engine-related involve the lifters. This number is clearly not indicative of the problem.

One of the complaints reveals that the dealership responsible for repairing the faulty product says it will take at least 2 months to fix. The owner was told that the dealership was receiving 2-3 lifters delivered daily. This is to replace faulty lifters. A 2-month repair delay implies that a large number of vehicles are currently being repaired by this dealership alone. How many repair shops are dealing with the same problem, on the same scale?

What to do if your 2021 GMC Yukon is a Lemon? Your Lemon Rights

If a vehicle has a persistent defect that impacts substantially on its use, safety, and value, it may be defined as a lemon. And if it is, you have the right to demand some kind of recompense. Many of our clients opt for buy-back deals or a cash settlement. Others prefer the option of a replacement vehicle.

If you think you’ve bought a lemon, you don’t have to live with it. Give Lemberg Law a call and our lemon law team will evaluate your case to see how we can help you get fair compensation. It’s not going to cost you anything, because the law says the car manufacturer must pay any legal bills.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones

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